Two Hundred Ninety: Something Other Than Dahlias

“All our relationships are person-to-person. They involve people seeing, hearing, touching, and speaking to each other; they involve sharing goods; and they involve moral values like generosity and compassion.”  – Brendan Myers

Saturday, October 18th

A couple of days ago I had run into an old neighbor of mine. He lived in the low-income housing behind our old rental house. When I started our raised bed garden as a pregnant lady, he’d yell over encouraging comments and invite me up to see his rooftop garden. Slowly we became garden friends, and I visited the garden several times. There was always a tomato for my kids to eat or a garden tip for me to take home and use in my own plot.

When I saw Steven in the library, he offered me plants.

Him: “You want oregano?”

Me: “Sure!”

Him: “How about thyme?”

Me: “There’s never enough of that!”

Him: “Now what about this spicy oregano? I planted a little pot of it years ago, and now look at it.”

Me: “Okay.”

My trunk was full of plants by time I left. He mentioned that he also had dahlias, but I had a trunk full of plants and two antsy kids with a bag full of books waiting behind the counter for me at the library. So I went over today to pick up those dahlias. I’d made my flower-growing neighbor very very happy with the promise of dahlia bulbs. When I went over there, however, I saw that they were irises and they grow like weeds on my property. I took a couple anyway along with a sword fern and another pot of oregano.

My husband had been waiting far too long in the car with the kids while I’d been grabbing the plants and I was disappointed that I didn’t have the dahlias. Then it occurred to me that I’d just filled in all these gaps in my garden with plants that were so much more than a free pot of herbs. They were grown with love. These plants had been nurtured through life in poor infertile soils while Steven added gads of compost, building up layers of lovely black dirt. He taught neighbors young and old about how to tend a garden, and now he was giving them away because he had to move. He couldn’t bring all his beloved plants with him so he wanted them to have a home where they would be loved and taken care of. It was an honor to have these plants.

Sometimes the generosity of others makes you take a long hard look at yourself.

How do you react to the generosity of others?



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